Your all-inclusive guide to bridal hair with contributions from six leading wedding hair specialists.
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There’s a lot to think about when preparing for the biggest day of your life, from colours and bouquets to seating arrangements and what to wear, but of all the things a bride wants to get right on her big day, hair is right up at the top. Picking out dresses for the bride and her bridesmaids is one thing, but getting a hairstyle that matches can be one of the most difficult things to get right. You’ll want to choose something trendy and fashionable, that’s also timeless and classic as you’ll want to look back on this day for years and years to come. From tousled waves and classy up-dos to bouncing bobs and elegant buns, here’s your guide to bridal hair for 2016.
The wedding dress is ready, your make-up has been carefully planned and is ready to go, and you’ve got the perfect shoes picked out for the day. All that’s left to check off the list is a stunning hairdo. When preparing for a wedding it isn’t as simple as being able to pop to the hairdressers with an appointment, it requires planning and booking well in advance and you may have to treat your hair in a certain way to get the style you want in the weeks leading up to the big day. You’ll want to choose your hairdresser carefully and make sure you have a full consultation with them well in advance so you can tell them all about your big day and discuss different styles, shapes and cuts.
Due to all of that planning, it’s a good idea to start thinking about your hair 3 months before your actual wedding day. Why 3 months? Because it’s enough time to make any drastic changes you may be considering, and also enough time to recover if you try something and end up changing your mind because it doesn’t work out. At this stage, you can try out new colours, extensions and make other bold moves just to see how it works and what’s available, all with your wedding dress and big day in mind. The 3-month mark is also a really good time to start booking those all-important pre-wedding appointments, particularly if it’s going to involve more than one trip to the hairdressers.
At the 2-month mark, you’ll probably have tried one or two things and will have a better idea of the direction you’d like to go in. At this stage is a good idea to start checking magazines and browsing websites to find examples of the kind of hairstyle you’d like on your wedding day. You might even decide to collect clippings and make a scrapbook to share with your friends and hairdressers to see what’s attainable and get their opinions.
When it comes down the final month it’s time to start really pampering your hair. You’ve tried some bold things, you’ve decided on a style and you’ve got appointments booked in with your hairdresser - now you’ve got to prepare your hair for the big occasion. Use hair masks to moisturise and repair your hair and hydrating treatments to bring out your natural oils and make your hair shiny and soft to the touch.
During the final weeks, it’s important to confirm all of your appointments and make sure you have a trial booked in with your hairdresser so you can go through the motions and make sure you’re happy with the end result. A style will obviously be done on the big day itself, but if you’re having a cut and colour to prepare, book this in a couple of weeks beforehand so you have time to get used it and your hair has time to settle.
What you should consider
Choosing the right hairstyle for your wedding day isn’t easy. Of course, you want to look gorgeous, but you also need to make sure that your hair matches your dress and any accessories you’re going to wear, and that it’s practical for the day. Here are some the biggest considerations you should be making when preparing for the big day…
Do you want to wear your hair up or down?
You’ll have to make this decision a few months before your wedding day as you may need to grow it out or get it cut. If you’re looking for a vintage or elegant style with the hair done up, then you may need time to grow it out to the correct length - it’s never too early to start thinking about this!
What colour are you going for?
Another important consideration, particularly as colouring takes time and as usually at its best a week or two after the colouring is carried out. If you’ve got your heart set on a style, make sure your hair is the right colour - if not, book a colouring appointment a couple of weeks before your wedding day.
How healthy is your hair?
Looking at different styles and collecting clippings is all good and well, but do you have the locks to pull it off? It’s important to give yourself enough time to give your hair the pampering it needs to look its absolute best, from hydration masks to oil treatments.
Will your style match your dress?
With so much going on, it’s easy to get tunnel vision. Your stylist is the best person to make a call on whether or not your chosen style matches your dress, so take a picture of it in to show them. They’ll look at the style and colour of your dress and make recommendations on your hair accordingly.
What type of hairstyle should you choose?
There are so many hairstyles out there to choose from that it’s easy to get overwhelmed. It’s important to collect clippings of styles you like and talk at length with your stylist to establish what works and what doesn’t. Once you’ve ruled out the ones that don’t work, how do you choose from the ones that do? Here are some of the most popular bridal hairstyles…
Upstyles and up-dos
These hairstyles have the power to bring elegance and style to any occasion. They’re considered classic, timeless and are the height of sophistication. Choosing an up style will also bring the absolute best out of your stylist as there are so many intricate details that can make or break it, so choosing a stylist with a good track record is a must.
Long hairstyles are becoming more and more popular for their natural and authentic look. With the use of extensions and volume enhancers, long doesn’t have to be boring, and can add a contemporary glow and charm to the bridal look. You can incorporate curls and waves, and long styles are perfect for a variety of hair accessories, from tiaras and veils to flowers and ribbons. You might also try a ‘half up half down’ style if you’re hair has the right length and your stylist has the right set of talents.
Mid-length and short styles
Shorter hairstyles can really serve to bring all of the attention to your wedding dress and makeup. A shorter hairstyle will bring out your facial features, draw eyes toward your smile and also make your neckline work for you in the same way an up-do would. Short or mid-length hair is also perfect for customising with hair extensions, curls and other accessories.
Retro and vintage styles
Vintage is really in. It’s amazing how hairstyles from the 1940’s and 50’s have made their way back into mainstream culture and become classy and in vogue once again, and it really does say a lot about their timelessness. From demi waves and quiffs to chignons, laces and pearls, there’s a lot of charm and class about a vintage style that complements the right choice of dress beautifully.
Choosing the right accessories
The right accessory can really bring a hairstyle to life, and it’s an important consideration for any bride on her wedding day. Corsages are becoming extremely popular again, and can be worn at the side of a bun (or chignon if you’re going for the retro look), or even behind the ear if you’ve gone for a hair down approach. To hold things in place, use small Alice bands that blend into your hair, and if you want to add a touch of glamour you can even try an ornate comb. One important consideration, particularly when thinking about wearing a tiara, is making sure that your hairstyle can take a little bit of weight without losing volume throughout the day. Make sure you discuss any accessories with your hairdresser or stylist when picking out your hair do.
When it comes to getting things right on your wedding day your hair is likely to be high on your list priorities, but that doesn’t mean it has to be stressful. By planning things out step by step and talking with the right people, you’ll feel nothing but excitement and anticipation leading up to the big day, and when the ceremony is over and the reception starts, it’ll be great to finally let your hair down.
What the experts say
We asked 5 top bridal hair specialists the following questions:
What advice can you give someone wondering what hairstyle to go with for their wedding day, and what is your personal favourite wedding hairstyle?
Check out the great answers below.
Michaela Hynes, Educator from the London Hairdressing Apprenticeship Academy
“My best advice to a bride prior to her big day would be to be well prepared. Take into consideration whether you are wearing a veil or a headpiece - if a bride is wearing a veil, the up-style would be hidden underneath, or if she was wearing a statement hairpiece, the best thing is to keep the hair simple and elegant not to make things look fussy.
The same rule to jewellery. If she is wearing drop earrings, then wear the hair up to elongate the neck. Always have a trial when going for the final dress fitting so you can see the entire look before the big day and make any changes necessary.
I always advise getting the brides hair coloured 2-3 weeks before the big day, especially highlights, as sometimes the look of highlights freshly done is a bit harsh in photographs. And to remember that the hairstyle has to be bigger as when a professional photo is taken, the hair can look flat – no matter how much backcombing has been done.”
Joshua Altback, artistic director at Joshua Altback
“I would advise them to have a look online on Pinterest, Instagram and all other social media platforms as well as Bridal magazines. Also, go to someone who specialises in Bridal hair as most Bridal hair styles need to be prepared properly to keep it lasting all night long. I have started a monthly pop-up event at my salon as it's a good way for future brides to come in and try out different bridal hair accessories, hair styles and make-up before the big day.
My favourite hair style would be keeping your hair down but having a mixture of braids and soft waves cascading down your back with delicate flowers or accessories attached in between the braids. Having something individual always makes a statement.”
Theo Silveston, Director at Kink Hair
“A wedding is a big day for everyone and the bride, in particular, wants to look amazing. Especially as the photographs will be an eternal memory of the day!
My advice would be to make sure you don't deviate too much from your usual style, you still want to look like yourself, just a more glamorised version. As the advert says, you; but on a really good day! If you normally wear your hair soft, find a style that compliments this look, your stylist will always be able to offer ideas and suggestions for the different types of styles.
And remember, a wedding dress isn't everyday attire, a lovely up-do can really show your dress off to its full glory.”
Vicki Lord, the UK’s Best Bridal Hairdresser (National Wedding Awards) from Vicki Lord Bridal Hair
“Every bride is different, but when it comes to choosing her hairstyle for her perfect day, it is very important to take into account the overall theme, so there is some continuity; to consider the style of dress – in particular, the neckline and the bodice detail. It is also important to choose a style that the bride likes; that is achievable with her hair type, and that suits her face shape and personality... basically consider every aspect of her big day, when choosing the hairstyle.
I love the variety that my job offers me, because I literally create a bespoke style for each bride, and so I am not sure if I have one single favourite hairstyle... although I like creating vintage do’s and bringing them into today’s fashion by adding twists to the hairstyle with modern accessories or an avant-garde edge. The Marcel vintage wave is a popular style for modern brides, as it is so elegant and sophisticated, versatile and glamorous.”
Anne Veck, Winner of the Revlon Professional Global Style Masters Award 2016 of Anne Veck Hair
“The key to beautiful hair on your wedding day is preparation. Make sure you meet your hairdresser well in advance to discuss your ideas and requirements for the big day. Then together you can work out a plan to make sure your hair is in the best possible condition. Healthy hair is vital to ensure your wedding day look is as beautiful as you deserve. Aim if possible for a 6-month programme of appointments, including a trial session 4 to 6 weeks before the wedding day itself, when you should bring along any accessories, tiara and a photograph of your wedding gown.
A personal favourite is difficult because different styles suit different brides but at the moment, I am loving working with the texture of afro hair, so my favourite just now would be an up-do with a bride with African-Caribbean hair, see the image below.”
Louise Alway, 2015 Wedding Industry Awards Winner from Louise Alway
“When it comes to choosing a hairstyle for your wedding day, I would say the most important thing is to ‘still feel like you!’ If you wear your hair down all day every day, then a formal up-do is likely to make you feel out of your comfort zone!
My advice would be to gather together images of the types of styles you are drawn to, taking into consideration the style of your dress and perhaps the theme or feel or your wedding.
Think about how you would like the hair to fall at the front- swept away from the face opens out the features, where soft, loose pieces left around the hairline will frame the face and therefore soften the look.
Personally, I love the more natural undone styles that are proving to be very popular at the moment. A loose wave throughout the hair is a great foundation for pulling some of the hair away from the face and weaving some messy fishtail braids through- a definite favourite of mine!”
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